Logistics as a Science – Research Questions concerning Industry 4.0

In view of the fundamental changes in the economy and society resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution it is necessary to reposition logistics as a discipline and a science. Logistics has developed from being a pure service-providing activity to become a key driver of digital and societal change. Topics like the Internet of Things and Services, big data or autonomous driving are inseparably intertwined with logistics today. In this process, logistics as a science and an economic sector drives not only the application but increasingly also the development of basic methods, algorithms and technologies.
With its new position paper “Logistics as a Science – Central Research Questions in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” the Scientific Advisory Board of the BVL underlines the central role of logistics in the context of Industry 4.0, reflects on the key challenges facing logistics research and defines the central questions regarding the future of logistics. Central preconditions or core elements of Industry 4.0 will also be essential for the future of Logistics 4.0: digitisation, decentralisation and interconnection, and fundamental shift towards autonomous control and organisation, symbolised by the Internet of Things and Services.
In tomorrow’s world, it will be possible to organise logistics more efficiently based on autonomous entities, and the degree of corresponding decentralisation and self-organisation will grow parallel to the complexity and dynamic development of logistics value added systems. There are three core hypotheses for Logistics 4.0 being derived:
·        Logistics is the prime mover of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
·        Logistics is both the driver and the basis of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
·        Logistics calls for a joint theoretical foundation for technology and the economy as well as for strategy and operations.
Please, find more in the attached position paper. We would be very happy, if this paper would contribute to the scientific discussions in your countries and associations. Please, feel free to use and distribute this paper. Your feedback and your input to the authors would be more than welcome.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wimmer
Chairman of the Executive Board

Position Paper Logistics 4.0